Printer Friendly

Detecting accelerated sea level rise.

The global sea level is currently rising by 1 to 2 millimeters per year, but that rate should soon increase dramatically if greenhouse gases warm the globe as much as many scientists forecast. Some oceanographers have proposed watching for this acceleration as an indication that global greenhouse warming has indeed begun. But a new study suggests it may be difficult to detect quickly an acceleration in sea level rise.

Researchers who study sea level use records from coastal tide gauges to tell whether the oceans have been rising relative to the land. So far, most studies have not detected any acceleration in the rate of sea level rise, but some have suggested that tide gauge records in the next three decades should be able to detect an acceleration, if one occurs.

Oceanographer Bruce C. Douglas, of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Washington, D.C., disagrees with that optimistic proposal. Because sea level records at individual sites can fluctuate significantly over any single decade, tide gauge records less than 50 years old can yield drastically different findings, Douglas reports in the Aug. 15 Journal of Geophysical Research.

He suggests researchers can cut the time it takes to spot an acceleration by learning what causes the long-term fluctuations in sea level. He expects that research programs currently under way will aid that effort. Satellite measurements of sea level can also speed detection of an accelerated rise, he adds.
COPYRIGHT 1992 Science Service, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:researching causes of long-term fluctuations
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Sep 19, 1992
Previous Article:Following the track of 80,000 wet Nikes.
Next Article:Excess iron linked to heart disease.

Related Articles
Sea cycle clock.
Icy indicators of global warming.
Satellite detects a global sea rise.
As the globe warms, keep an eye on storms.
Reining in estimates of sea level rise.
A sea of trouble.
Antarctic ice shelves see another big breakup.
Climate's Long-Lost Twin.
Satellites could help track sea level. (Earth Science).
Volcanic suppression: major eruptions can reduce sea level.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2016 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters